When talking about oriental
rugs, what first comes to mind are Persian rugs. Persian rugs are an integral
part of Persian culture and Iranian art. The carpets are made for home use,
local and international sales. Persian rugs or Iranian carpets stand out by the
great range of designs and patterns. The history of Persian rugs dates back to
the 5th century BC. Let’s dig deeper and learn more
about ancient Persian rugs and their history, what they are made of and how to
keep them clean.
The Origin of Iranian Carpets
Persian rugs have a quite long history behind, let’s talk about the origin of the Iranian carpets and when the first Iranian carpets were made.
In Iran (previously Persia) carpet weaving art
originated over 2,500 years ago. The first carpets were made to cover the
floors of various tribes to protect them from cold and usually, were made of
wool. However, people developed, new tools were made, they sharpened their
skills, thus over centuries, the carpet weaving art passed down from generation
to generation going through wars, invasion, and much more. The designs and
patterns grew throughout time as well. And currently, we can state that Iran is
one of the main centres of the oriental rug belt.
The oldest pieces of carpet were spotted in the Pazyryk valley, in the Altai Mountains of Siberia by a group of Russian archeologists in 1949. It has a rich decoration on the central you can see 24 cross-shaped figures, each of which consists of 4 stylized lotus buds. This is a bright example of an early carpet weaving art developed in Iran in the 5th century BC. The carpet went through two millennia and still, it was able to survive preserving its main decorations and colour. This speaks about high skills and good materials such as herds of sheep and goats used to create durable carpets even at this early date. Currently,the oldest Pazyryk carpet is displayed in the Hermitage Museum of Leningrad (St. Petersburg, Russia).
The first documented evidence of Iranian carpets was made by Chinese dating back to the Sasanian Empire (224 to 651 AD). When the Arabs invaded Ctesiphon, the Sassanian capital, (in 637 AD), they took many carpets among which was the famous garden carpet “The Spring of Khosrow”, also known as “Winter of Khosrow” which is lost now. It is considered as the most precious carpet of all time and was the prototype of the coming garden carpets. The carpet was called Spring of Khosrow because it was made during the reign of Khosrow I (531 – 579 AD) and represented in silk, gold, silver, and jewels, the splendour of flowering spring. It was also called winter of Khosrow because it was used to in winter, as well when there were no real gardens, symbolising the king’s power of controlling seasons. The carpet was enormous weighing several tons and the Arabs divided the carpet into multiple pieces and sold each part separately.
The Main Carpet Weaving Centres of Persian Rugs
Though rug weaving was quite spread in Iran and most of
the regions have their pattern, style and design, in some centres rug weaving
was more widespread than in other areas. Among the main carpet weaving centres
are considered Arak, Ardebil, Bijar, Hamadan, Esfahan, Kashan, Kerman, Mashhad,
Nain, Qom, Sanandaj, Shiraz, Tabriz, Tehran, Yazd, Zanjan.
Oldest Ardabil Carpet in London and Los Angeles
The golden era of Persian carpet art was during the
reign of the Safavid Dynasty in the 16th century AD. Nearly 1500 rugs of that
century are preserved and kept in museums and private collections all over the
world. Two of the well-known carpets of the Safavid period were made in Ardabil
the burial place of Shaykh Safi al-Din Ardabili, who died in 1334. The two
carpets dated 1539 are considered masterpieces of carpet weaving art and one of
them is kept in Victoria and Albert Museum (London, UK), while the other in the
Los Angeles County Museum (California, USA).
Persian Rug Cleaning
As much as the Persian rugs are expensive and antique,
the more difficult it is to keep them clean. It is not an easy task to clean a
Persian rug without losing its original colour and ruining fiber. Not to sound
too extremist, but it’s almost impossible to clean a precious Persian rug by
yourself. However, you can always count on a reliable carpet
cleaning company specialised in oriental rugs to take care of your
Iranian rug through special handwashing services to keep the cultural value of
Today, carpet weaving art is considered the most
widespread handcraft in Iran. Over time, more designs, patterns, and colours
were developed to make them look colour-rich, artistic and high quality. You
can find Persian rugs from antique to modern ones in most famous palaces,
buildings, museums, etc. worldwide. Also, you can buy one for yourself but
prepare your budget, they are not cheap. Read about where you can obtain an Iranian carpet.
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